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John Chuckman


“US wants North Korea nuclear talks, says Rex Tillerson”

Sounds reasonable, if you don’t know much.

It is the US which has always refused even to speak directly with North Korea.

It is the US which maintains a sizable army at North Korea’s border.

It is the US which regularly puts on threatening war game displays offshore and in South Korea.

It is the US, during the Korean War, which conducted a horrific bombing campaign against North Korea. This is seldom discussed in the West, but North Korean cities were nearly levelled the bombing was so intense.

It is the US which keeps nuclear weapons – against Japanese law – in Okinawa.

It is the US which has been on a 15-year rampage through the Middle East, killing about 2 million people, setting an example to the contemporary world of arbitrary and brutal use of power.

It is the US which has ramped up a new Cold War in Europe, sending tanks, planes, and troops right up against Russia’s border, expanding NATO membership aggressively, building THAAD anti-missile systems, while making lots of provocative statements and periodically sending spy planes towards Russia with their transponders turned off, a dangerous practice – all this while declaring various economic sanctions for no sound reason.

It is the US which is placing the THAAD system in South Korea, something both China and Russia oppose.

This missile system is a much more provocative act than many understand because the ostensible purpose of the system is said to be defensive, and for several reasons.

The THAAD missile tubes and radars can be used covertly for entirely different kinds of missiles such as short-range ground-to-ground nuclear-armed ones. Just this possibility so near to China or Russia is inherently destabilizing.

They can also be used with other types of anti-missile missiles covertly substituted, to bring down ICBMs in their most vulnerable phase of early take-off. This always means the possible threat of launching a nuclear assault coordinated with neutralizing any response.

Even in John Kennedy’s time, the Pentagon was advocating detailed plans for a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Russia. He once left a Pentagon briefing saying it made him sick to his stomach. Does anyone believe that kind of thinking has just melted away?

Of course, both Russia and China are taking counter-measures, and they have many that they can take, but does anyone in his or her right mind think we need an arms race?

You do not have to like North Korea’s government to understand their fears and why it is they have “gone nuclear.”

I think it fair to say, too, that North Korea’s reasons are precisely the same as those of Israel.

But, in the case of North Korea the US periodically gets worked up to possible warfare while in the case of Israel, it just pretends the nuclear weapons do not exist.

There is simply no rationality or balance or respect for others in US foreign policy.

It is always just a matter of, “This is what I want,” and I’m pretty sure anyone else behaving that same way would be called a bully.

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